Senate Dems stonewall Iran resolution, handing victory to Obama
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Senate Democrats blocked a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal for a third time Thursday, sealing a major foreign policy victory for President Obama. 

Senators voted 56-42 against ending debate on the resolution of disapproval, falling short of the 60 votes needed on the procedural motion.

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Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinFederal anti-BDS legislation – Common sense and constitutional Top Dem: Privatizing Afghanistan War would be 'affront' to US troops Open record laws should apply to private prisons, too MORE (Md.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states Trump's Democratic tax dilemma Manchin eyed as potential pick for Energy secretary: report MORE (W.Va.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezLawmakers target horse meat trade Senators, staff get approval to testify in Menendez corruption trial Trump admin not opposed to new war authorization MORE (N.J.) and Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats urge Trump to condemn Charlottesville violence Melania Trump on Charlottesville protests: 'No good comes from violence' It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (N.Y.) for a third time bucked Obama and voted "no" on the deal.

GOP Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulGlimmer of hope in bipartisan criminal justice reform effort Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioThe Memo: Trump tries to quiet race storm Trump tweets on trade, military, Alabama, but not Charlottesville Venezuelan leader put a hit on Marco Rubio: report MORE (Fla.) missed the vote, while Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Memo: Trump tries to quiet race storm Cruz calls for Justice Department investigation into Charlottesville violence THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell MORE (Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump's Charlottesville comments push North Korea from spotlight 'Dreamers' deadline looms for Trump Graham: Trump must do more to distance himself from white supremacists MORE (S.C.) voted to end debate. All four took part in Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in California.

The vote came just hours ahead of the deadline for lawmakers to pass a resolution on the deal. With neither chamber of Congress expected to take another vote on Iran, the administration is poised to protect the agreement after months of intense lobbying aimed at solidifying Democratic support.

Opponents of the deal appeared to acknowledge defeat ahead of Thursday's vote. 

"This agreement is moving forward, we all know that," Cardin, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said, adding that lawmakers should now focus on next steps to strengthen the agreement. 

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHow to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Five tough decisions for the GOP on healthcare MORE (R-Tenn.), who spearheaded legislation that allows for Congress to debate and vote on the agreement, added that Republicans understand that "42 senators are causing a filibuster to take place and that we're not every going to be able to get to that vote on conscience.” 

Republicans argue that Democrats are blocking the resolution in an effort to protect Obama from having to use a veto, something he's only had to use four times while in office. 

Thursday's vote comes after Democrats previously blocked the resolution of disapproval from moving forward twice. Republicans had hoped that by staging repeat votes they could pressure at least two more Democrats to buck Obama and vote against the deal. 

But Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-Nev.) suggested that Republicans were wasting precious floor time with only a handful of working days left ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

"Senator McConnell has decided to waste an entire week on something that has already been decided, twice," he said. "Despite the fact that the government will be shut down in a matter of days, the world's greatest deliberative body is doing a show vote." 

Reid previously offered to let the Senate move to a final vote on the Iran nuclear deal if Republicans would agree to setting a 60-vote threshold for final passage. 

While McConnell rejected the deal, it's gained at least one Republican supporter: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeChallenger’s super PAC accuses Flake of betraying voters in new ad Dems target Flake's seat amid GOP infighting Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville MORE (R-Ariz.), who said he wants to take a final vote "and not just have endless cloture votes." 

"Take it," he said, referring to Reid's offer. "Let's get to a final vote. We've seen the end of this movie already." 

But McConnell appeared to be sticking to his strategy — even after his attempt to force a tough vote on Democrats failed. 

"Democrats have chosen to deny the Senate a final vote on the president's deal with Iran. They made their choice," he said. "Democrats ensured that this would be not just Obama's deal with Iran, but the Democratic Party's deal with Iran, too."
 
— This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.